But things have changed a lot. The water level in Lake Mead has dropped, and the rapid has continued to develop, carving a new bed for itself, resulting in a much more difficult run. River runners are advised that this rapid does not look or behave like the debris fan rapids encountered upstream.
Pearce Ferry Rapid is now classified a must-scout Class VI nick point rapid at river mile 280.8. Nick point rapids are formed where the Colorado River bed traverses over exposed rock outcrops.
According to River Runners for Wilderness,
A well maintained trail now goes from the Pearce Ferry Ramp to the Rapid. River runners are encouraged to look at this rapid. It is a force of nature to be reckoned with.
At Pearce Ferry Rapid, there is an exposed rock ledge in the center right of the rapid, and at lower water levels, a new rock is emerging as an extension of this rock ledge in the center of the left tongue.
Due to increased down-cutting of the left channel, the right slot is now a series of two drops, five and six feet respectively. The right chute no longer allows lining options if river runners are not confident in their skills to navigate the left channel.
While we're talking about running the Grand, here are a few top-recommended...
Grand Canyon Essential Non-Essentials:
1. Luci Lantern, $10-14.99. Inflatable, solar-rechargeable, waterproof, ultralight and cheap, these lanters are perfect for both camping, entertaining in your backyard, and, of course, night kayaking.
Also -- with an artistic eye, your Luci Lantern will help you take some gorgeous photos, like this one, taken at the Nankoweap Granaries:
2. Water Sports Lighted Bocce Ball Set, $49.99. Probably more suitable for rafters than kayakers, due to size constraints. But perfect for nighttime entertainment.
3. 14mm Wide Angle or Fisheye Lens, $200-350. If you've got a DSLR, you will kick yourself if you don't bring your wide angle on this trip. There are so many gorgeous shots in the Grand, like this one:
Even if you're not going to take night shots, your landscapes will be infinitely more beautiful when you can capture the whole scene. This photo is great:
For Canon full-frame: Rokinon FE14M-C 14mm F2.8 Ultra Wide Lens for Canon
For Nikon full-frame: Rokinon 14mm f/2.8 IF ED UMC Ultra Wide Angle Fixed Lens w/ Built-in AE Chip
For Canon, Nikon or Pentax crop sensor: Rokinon HD8M-C 8mm f/3.5 HD Fisheye Lens with Removeable Hood
4. Gorilla Tape, $8.47. This is more of an essential than a non-essential if you're doing a self-support kayak trip. If your kayak cracks, you can use Gorilla Tape for a makeshift repair.
5. SeaSpecs Extreme Sports Sunglasses, $24.95. These glasses are designed for kiteboarding, surfing, jetskiing, windsurfing, snowboarding and other extreme sports. I've only ever used them for whitewater kayaking... but for me, eye protection is important enough that I almost didn't want to include SeaSpecs on a non-essential list. I sincerely don't understand how other kayakers can kayak without eye protection.
6. Kayak Tow Tether, $29.95. Again, I feel weird putting this on a "non-essential" list. Because, yes, you can kayak the Grand without one. But if you have a swimmer in the middle of a rapid, you'll be glad to have a tow tether
7. Lightweight Collapsible Bowl, 3 for $9.99. Technically, this is a "dog bowl", but it does the job! Lightweight, machine washable, and compact.
8. The Emerald Mile: The Epic Story of the Fastest Ride in History Through the Heart of the Grand Canyon, by Kevin Fedarko ($10.11)
However, if you're only going to bring ONE book on your trip, it should probably be Colorado River in the Grand Canyon RiverMap Guide.Or, if you've got space for a larger, more detailed guide, order a copy of Belknap's Waterproof Grand Canyon Guide - All New Edition, which provides detailed information about each rapid and is better for a self-support trip.
Have you rafted or kayaked (or bellyaked?) the Grand Canyon? Share your favorite tips and hints below!